Grand Central, Feb 8 2012, $25.99
The Detonations ravaged the world. Most people who were normal Before became disfigured as bodies were physically merged. The few fortunate Pure who survived the Detonations with no bodily change moved inside the safety of the Dome; enabling them to remain isolated from those mutilated monsters left outside.
Inside the Dome, Partridge feels alienated and isolated from his Pure peers. His brother committed suicide; his mother is allegedly dead after his influential father abandoned her outside the Dome and abandoned him inside their haven. When he hears a hint that his mom lives Partridge flees his gilded cage to find her.
Outside the Dome, Pressia the teenager lives with her grandfather behind the rubble of what was a barbershop before the Detonations. Although she knows she is fortunate to have had a minor change of a doll head fused in her hand, she misses her former life of amusement parks, movies and especially her parents. Now society demands she like all sixteen years old changelings join the Operation Sacred Revolution militia either as soldiers or training targets. When bewildered Pressia meets Partridge, who rescues him from certain death, two realms detonate as they team up with Bradwell the conspiracy guru to learn the darkest truth about their world.
This is a great post-apocalyptic horror thriller in which Julianna Baggott paints a vivid dark world. The descriptions of the misfortunate changed are grim; for instance some people merged with other people or animals into one grotesque body. Thus the heroine’s doll faced hand is minor in comparison. Brutally gruesome with dark humor, readers will appreciate walking in and out of the Dome with Pressia and Partridge as their guides in a trek on the wild side.